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It might be a matter of hormone administration rather than then the dying of the fish. I've never done anything like this, but I remember reading somewhere that if you administer testosterone to a female Malawi cichlid, it will color up like a male of the species. The reason one might do this is to identify the fish (since many hap or peacock females are virtually indistinguishable from hap/peacock females of different species).

Like I said, I'm not justifying or recommending the practice.
 
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